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Bootleg software malware
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Security & privacy

Googling THIS PHRASE leads to malware that installs 20 malicious programs to your PC

We always advise avoiding pirated movies, music and other types of software. Not only is bootlegging these materials illegal, but the sites you get them from can’t be trusted.

Often, sites hosting pirated material infect your device with malware. A recent example was websites offering free Hollywood movies created to spread malware. Tap or click here for details on this scammy plot.

Now the malware-spreading schemes are getting more elaborate. Keep reading to discover how downloading bootlegged software could infect your device with up to 20 malicious programs.

Here’s the backstory

Kaspersky Security recently identified a new threat taking down bootleggers everywhere. Over 47,000 PCs have already been attacked after downloading content with the NullMixer malware dropper attached.

NullMixer, once it hits your computer, is capable of automatically downloading and executing more than 20 Trojans (duplicitous software that can track your activity online, steal your personal information, and completely brick your system). 

What types of software downloads have been found to include NullMixer? The report calls out illegal copies of “cracked” software as the primary installation mode. If you don’t know, cracked software means pirated or bootlegged software.

You may very well become a victim if you’re searching for and downloading software to use without a license key or registration code.

The cybercriminals’ knowledge of SEO techniques makes NullMixer an even more significant threat. They have been using SEO to get these malicious sites to appear at the top of Google Search results.

So, if you search for crack software on Google, you’ll see multiple results that could infect your device with malware. If you end up on one of these malicious sites and click a link, you’ll be redirected a few times until you see download instructions for the alleged free software.

Clicking on the download instructions will result in a ZIP file on your device that unleashes multiple malware variants. These programs consist of keyloggers used to steal online credentials, adware, spyware, banking Trojans and more. It can even result in your gadget being unusable.

How to protect against NullMixer malware

This elaborate scheme targets average people who lack the know-how to avoid traps like these. That’s why it’s critical to only search for authorized, official copies of any software you hope to use. Never download pirated software and stick with official sites.

If you download anything outside of official sources — music, movies, games or software and receive a file called win-setup-i864.exe, the best course of action is to delete it from your computer immediately. Don’t launch, extract, or even try to inspect the file, or you could allow NullMixer unfettered access to your system.

Beyond avoiding bootlegged programs, you should also have trustworthy antivirus software on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV.

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